Wednesday, October 29, 2014


 We're home!  I am not feeling the jet lag YET.  Yay!  Taiwan was WONDERFUL!  It was wonderful because of the Taiwanese people.  Everything in Asia (I've been to several Asian countries) is DIFFERENT.  I found myself trying to find my rhythm throughout the trip! The goodie above is shaved ice with mangos.  YUMMY!  We had to go deep into downtown Taipei to find it.

 We had dinner with our friend Yiping's family.  Her sister has the cutest baby boy!  As you can see I can't take my eyes off of him.  I was having a seriously bad hair day.  Sorry.
 Yiping's dad made us some glorious fish!  
 This quote was on our hotel wall.  I like it.
 Another sweet friend named Leah showed me around downtown on another day.  Ten years ago she went to camp and our Jeff was the speaker (he flew all the way to Taiwan by himself when he was a senior in high school).  She began her journey with Jesus that week and then last week, I met her and she showed me around.  We ate in an alley noodle shop and then went to buy cool Asian notebooks.
 Here's Bill speaking at the training Yiping put together.
 My pictures are out of order, but here you can see famous dumplings.  They were delicious!
 We went to a harbor market and I really should have bought one of these tea travel mugs.  I hadn't figured out the money yet.  
 I spied a spotty mug!  (Two weeks ago, my book club ladies commented on all the spotty things in our house!)
 Lots of fresh seafood abounds in Taiwan.  I'm not particularly attracted to sea cucumbers.
 They water was wavy! 
 The beachside coffee shop was lovely!
 Here is our dear Yiping.  She used to be a social worker and now she runs a ministry that aims to deepen people's walk with Jesus.  She is something else.  Even watching her for just one week I noticed a woman who KNOWS how to do friendship.  She is funny, fun, inspiring, and happy.  I love her.
 Even though I couldn't understand the Chinese worship songs, I felt included.
 Here are the dumpling makers.  It takes three years to perfect one's dumpling making skills.
 Ferry boat!  I always love riding in a boat and these open air ferries are perfect transportation!
 Our hotel was by a school and the highlight of my morning walks was seeing the children arrive on the back of their parents' scooters (there are zillions of scooters in Taipei).  The kids are ADORABLE!
 More spots!
 Here is a close up of Yiping's father's soup.  He is an amazing chef!
 Pretty crowded!  Shops under stacks of apartments.
 Fishing boats!

 The rim of the earth from the plane!
 Our walking path and a Buddhist temple.
 People live in tiny apartments.  I feel like our house is HUGE in comparison.  
 Yiping drove us over the mountains to the sea.

 Smoky volcano!

 Badger came along!  His aim is to check out homemaking and homekeeping, so he wanted to see Yiping's kitchen.  He liked her teapot.
Badger shall have his own launching post soon.  He's flying over to Belfast first.  He'll do his visiting in Europe (and maybe New Zealand and Australia again!) and finish in the states.  I have quite a few hostesses lined up!  

It's our Jenny's birthday today!  Wasn't she a sweet little girl?  Now she's a mama of two, a happy wife, and a runner.  I cherished our last baby.  I remember hugging her little pink self tightly in deep appreciation for one more child.  

I've missed you!  I'm glad to be home!
Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Sweet Home

(Bringing in the storybook stuff!  A friend at book club asked, "What's with the toadstools?" I'm sure she thought they must have some sort of symbolic significance.  Nope. I just like them.)

 When I was a cleaning lady I could clean a four bedroom home in four hours.  I vacuumed and mopped the floors, cleaned the stoves, dusted the entire house, scrubbed and shined the bathrooms in that short amount of time.  Hmmm.  
I was hosting my new book club and I figured cleaning was in order.  I cleaned for much more than four hours and I realized how far behind I am in our home.  I guess my house has been crying out for a little care for about (gasp!) ten years.  It's been longer than that really.  Before I worked as a teacher I was a college student and before that I was busy with a part-time school related job and our children!  So, long ago when I cleaned four to five days a week (for others) I think I neglected our house then, too.  Oh well!  Houses are forgiving, aren't they?  A bit of paint is sometimes in order, but intense cleaning erases neglect MOST of the time.  Yay!  All this to say, it's nice living in a clean space and worth the work.  Too bad that I am borderline lazy.

I'm so thankful for our old house.  I am thankful that it's worked so well for so long.  We now have a guest room and two studies (the children all live close enough to sleep at their own homes!) and we still have a family room full of toys (for the grands!) Everyday doings are my favorite.  We're getting ready to travel to Taiwan and I'm looking forward to being with the people there, but I shall be homesick.  
Our youngest daughter quit her job and will be staying home with her girls.  I'm so thrilled for her.  She's a good little homemaker.  Now all of our "moms" are stay at home moms.  I'm happy about this.  My mama says that we can save a lot of money when we stay home and I think she's right.  
I love all the women who work, too.  I was a away-from-home worker for a long time and I know that it is hard as well as fulfilling.  I don't express my opinion as to how women spend their time because there are so many variants.  All I DO know is that I love home base right now.  Home sweet home.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Golden and Snug

 Autumn here is stunning just now.  The weather is mild, the trees are holding their leaves, and it's lasting a long time!  Yay!
 I went to a friend's house and we walked around a big city park.  Geese!
 Two trees - wow!
 Blue so blue!
 Kelli and Bryan's barn behind their pretty golden tree

 It's not QUITE time for the flannels, but soon.  I think it's a good idea to love our beds.  Don't you? Some mornings when Bill gets up before me, he leaves the fan going at the open window, and I stay in bed a bit longer because it's so snuggly and warm.  Isn't that a good feeling?
And then when I do get up, there's coffee.  Our Keurig died and I don't mind.  I was tired of using so many little plastic containers with dried up coffee inside.  I bought a coffee maker at the grocery store for $11.99.  It's shiny and it makes good java.  I'll get a percolator later because perked coffee is best (to me).  
How's your October going along so far?

Friday, October 10, 2014

More October Bliss

 I've been just the right amount of busy lately.  We've had our family around, friends here, I've been to school to help in the library, and I've met friends for lunch.  I like it.  
The neighborhood is looking very fall-ish with flowers hanging on until the first freeze. The roses look dazzling next to the falling leaves and twiggy branches.  The vibrant roses here were in a garden with nothing else.  Survivors.

 I've been wearing posies.  My friend Heather from Blackberry Rambles sells these cozy brooches in her Etsy shop.  Pop over! She's a pastor's wife, a mother of four, and a Scottish fan/enthusiast.  She home schools and Susan Branch featured her Beatrix Potter unit a year or so ago. That's how I "met" Heather.  She's really a star.  Her blog is on my blog roll.

I asked the UPS driver if she loved this time of year, driving around in her truck, along tree-lined streets and down winding roads.  She looked at me a bit funny, probably because she's always rushed and tired from climbing in and out of the big brown truck.  Yikes.

 Thank you for your concern about wiggle-puss James!  He's taking the bottle and eating his baby food!  Cheers!

 This time of year I lean closer to some of my beloved literature.  Beatrix (I really like reading ABOUT her) and The Wind in the Willows.  Remember when we sent the book and the three (Ratty, Mole, and Mr. Toad) around the world?  Wasn't that fun?  Badger is in the envelope on top, waiting for his turn.  Mags and I decided that a home tour around the world, blessing friends with warm thoughts of home, would be a good reason to launch Badger out into the world of blog.  Would you want to host him?  Take photos of him by your brooms and brushes?  Allow him to help you polish your brasses or rearrange your copper pots?  Let me know.

 Have you read the shoe books?  I re-read them often.  I put my little toe shoes and my beat up tappers next to them.  My toe dancing stint was short lived.  I'll never forget how fun it was to drive to Seattle with a friend(and our mothers), try on our slippers stuffed with lamb's wool, and purchase our magic shoes.  We tried to be real ballerinas, but our feet hurt.  I'm so glad I still have my tiny satin reminders.

 I'm really not festooning the house with autumn garb.  I do have a few seasonal features sitting around.  I found the owl glassware at the grocery store.  Hoot!

 Coffee and tea taste even better this time of year.  Kelli gave me this lovely beaker (I learned that word from Hyacinth Bucket). 

 There have been some Octobers in my life as a homemaker when I have gained a few pounds due to my love of "fun-size" Halloween candy.  I have given up Snickers bars forever because I now believe I cannot eat nuts, but Milky Ways are delicious and so are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!  I'm not quite the pig I used to be, so that's progress.
 Today I decided to recklessly buy Clementines.  It's almost the holiday season.  They might be good just now.  Guess what? THEY ARE!
My friend Mouse from Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner sent me a Rumer Godden book for my birthday!  It's a children's book titled The Diddakoi.  I've read a few pages. Yes.  Delicious.  Thank you, Mouse!
My friend MK painted the card. Nice, huh?

I'm trying very hard to be more faithful to those I love, the ones God has placed in my heart.  I used to be rather careless about returning phone calls, writing thank you notes, and initiating get-togethers when it was obviously my turn.  I excused myself, thinking that having four kids, a busy husband, and a lean toward disorganization made it HARDER for me than other people.  Hmmm.  When I was teaching, I was tired and overstimulated at the end of the day.  I used my reserves to spend time with family, but I didn't have the verve to initiate with friends.  Many of my friends forgave me for this.  I'm grateful.  Now, I feel compelled to respond quickly to emails, texts, letters, gifts, and any sort of favor I might have with other humans.  Even if other people don't respond on a regular basis, if I feel like they might be one of my peeps, I'm going to generously initiate when I can.  I'm not going to grow bitter if I'm doing all the work.  I love them.  I'm going to act on it.  What do you think?

I have two new pairs of stretchy waistband pants because I believe very firmly what our Kelli said she found to be true.  If our pants are tight around the waist, we tend to be grouchy.  Yoga pants (baggy ones) and baggy knit pants of other sorts are real friends.  Ha! This really is the season of comfort and I realize it's nice to dress a little formally sometimes if it means that others might feel honored and respected.  I'm willing to do that for them.  Even so, stretchy pant days are very good days. Just saying.
Thank you for reading this far, you sweetie pie you!
God be with you.